by Brian Dudley, CFP®️, Founder + CEO
In December of 2016, I set off to start my own independent practice under the Pinnacle Private Wealth family. The goal was to move to Pinnacle, provide the best advice for my client’s individual situations without corporate pressures or influence, and eventually succeed senior management in running the day-to-day operations of the firm. My brother and I would eventually be partners and we would grow Pinnacle to be a leader in the hybrid registered investment advisor space. That goal has not changed, but it has evolved.
So what changed?
In the summer of 2017, I wrote a vision for what I believed Pinnacle to be (even if I didn’t own the firm). I met with the two managing partners at an off-site meeting at one of the partner’s summer homes. It was a productive meeting, but my vision for the brands was never put into an actual strategy. My goal was to create three succinct brands under the Pinnacle Private Wealth family: Pinnacle Private, Pinnacle Independence, and Emerging Pinnacle (original note changed to Pinnacle Emerging Wealth). We accomplished a lot from that meeting, but rebranding was not initially one.
Bull, horns, and grabbing opportunities.
“Mo’ money, mo’ problems”-Notorious B.I.G. Well, why not go after late Gen-X, millennials, and Gen-Z who are on the rise? If those young clients who are on the rise and growing need help, who better than me? Yep, I agree. Can’t say this wasn’t a reason. With more money coming in, there tends to be a need for more advice on how to best position where to distribute it. I’ve been in this game since 2006. I have experience, credentials, and knowledge. I can help these people (and I love to help). This wasn’t my only reason.
The questions from my friends who are finding success were beginning to mount. “Hey, what should I do about my mortgage?” “Do you handle SEP IRAs?” “I just left my work, what should I do with my 401(k)” “Hey, is a 529 good for me?” And, my favorite “I have a person that I work with, but what do you think about''x ``?'' Fill in the blank with those questions. I was realizing that my friends (and even people I just met around my age) had a TON of questions. I am happy to help friends and family, but I strongly believe that advice should be comprehensive and not given in partial at a local bar or bbq. My friends need help. My friends’ friends need help. Plus, there are many more who are young and on their way to true wealth.
My next reason is a bit more complicated. Well, maybe it’s simple. I have grown a practice that has focused on working with pre-retirees and retirees. They are no longer in accumulation but focused on distribution and passing funds along to the next generation or charity. The problem with this? With age comes memory loss, cancer, disease, and other ailments. I have loved helping people prepare for these events, but when they happen, they suck.
I have dealt with three deaths of clients I have known for over ten years over the past year. These were great clients. Loyal to me when I left my previous firm. They have followed me and I have followed their financial and life’s journeys. I know their story. They knew mine. I know their kids’ stories. They knew mine. It was personal working with them. It meant a lot to help them and now they are gone.
I always try to work with a family ahead of time. Introduce my name or the process and I incorporate beneficiaries so that they understand what is going on. With sudden death, however, that’s not as easy. And although I have met the children of my clients who have passed and they are now clients (and awesome people), it still made my decision to start a brand focused on the next generation that much easier. I’ll never give up my retirees that have been loyal through the years and will continue to work with their families and referrals.
It’s just time to add a level of advice for the next generation of investors. They deserve great advice and we are the team that can help their relentless pursuit of growth.
This is just the beginning. There is more to come.